A crew of Conservation Volunteers joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada and plant ecologist Claudia Schaeffer on James Island on Oct. 4 to restore the rarest habitat in Canada: coastal dunes. The group carefully navigated rebounding populations of rare native plants, including black knotweed and yellow sand verbena, to reach areas of the spit still overrun with Scotch broom and gorse.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada holds a conservation covenant on most of the shoreline of this gulf island. The covenant, which prohibits access and development, are aimed at protecting the island’s rare sand dune ecosystem, which supports the endangered Edward’s beach moth and sand verbena moth, as well as many rare plant species.
During her rare plant survey, Schaeffer discovered a new plant species requiring identification and mapped out colonies of invasive crow garlic for later removal. After some serious digging and cutting, volunteers took a break and collected three large bags of beach trash. The most common items gathered were fishery debris, water bottles and Styrofoam. Another James Island restoration day is being planned for November. Visit conservationvolunteers.ca online for more information.